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MYSTERIES

The Big Switch by Jack Bludis (DesignImage, $15.95) is set in 1951 Hollywood, which is "every bit as ugly as the rest of the world -- the players just wear better-looking clothing." It's a place where call girls and starlets not only go to the same parties, but have the same chance of ending up murdered.

Before that, however, they're likely to wind up in bed with oversexed PI Brian Kane, who sleeps with clients and suspects when he's not worrying what his call girl girlfriend is up to.

This is an amiably talky book, and while not always believable, it's an entertaining and sexy take on the classic PI story.

All White Girls by Michael Bracken (Wildside, $14.95). When tenacious Dick Rickenbacker was still a Chicago cop, he helped his partner, Salvador Castellano, find out who killed Castellano's young sister.

Now Rickenbacker's off the force and working as an unlicensed PI thanks to his violent streak. He and Castellano cross paths again because of a murdered girl, and they explore Chicago's sleazy strip clubs and question lots of lowlifes to find the killer.

Total Recall by Sara Paretsky (Delacorte, $XX). Paretsky's Chicago private eye, V.I. Warshawski, is working on two cases that don't seem related at first. In one, a low-income family is having trouble collecting an insurance claim. Meanwhile, Warshawski tries to learn the true identity of a man whose dubious claim to be a Holocaust survivor is causing grief for another survivor, Warshawski's friend and mentor.

-- News wire services

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